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At Season Midpoint: Grading the Bears Best

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    BOURBONNAIS, IL - AUGUST 4: A Chicago Bears helmet rests on the field during a training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University August 4, 2009 in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    Grizzly Detail keeps certain Bears stars in the corner of our eyes at all time. At the (almost) halfway point of the season, it's time to check in with each of those stars and give them a long form report card.

    Jay Cutler: The QB has had an up-and-down year, with outstanding games against Atlanta, Minnesota and Detroit, but poor games against Tampa Bay and Green Bay. His QB rating of 84.0 puts him right in the middle of NFL QBs. But his growth as a leader of the team is apparent, and he's building a connection with his receivers. 
     
    Lovie Smith: At 4-3, the Bears are in the middle of the pack in almost every NFL category. They're about as mediocre as it gets. Smith has continued his path of sometimes great, sometimes awful coaching.

    Mike Martz: His playcalling has been suspect, and his relationship with his players has been strained. The Bears offense is completely dependent on one player. In both yards and points, the offense is ranked in the middle of the league. For a "genius," that's not good enough.

    Brian Urlacher
    : As the season began, the entire defense had a hard time clicking, and it's hard to not pin that on Urlacher, who has been the heard of the Bears D for a decade. They have steadily improved, that's Urlacher's fault, too. When he plays well, the Bears defense plays well. Rock on, Brian.

    Chris Harris: He started the season as the Bears starting safety. Now? He's playing for Detroit. We'll miss you, buddy.

    Roy Williams
    : He has not become the No. 1 receiver that the Bears were hoping for, but he has shown a better connection with Jay Cutler in recent games. It took him seven games to get a touchdown, and he's still hasn't proved that he's any better than Johnny Knox.

    Jerry Angelo
    : Draft picks Stephen Paea and Chris Conte have shown early success, but his free agent signings haven't made a positive impact. Marion Barber has been a good back-up to Matt Forte, but Williams hasn't been a huge addition and Brandon Merriweather has been a disaster. He also failed to sign Matt Forte to the long-term contract that he deserves. If we were to give Angelo a letter grade, it would be, "UGH."

    Johnny Knox: After losing his starting job to Williams during training camp, Knox impressed the staff with his determination to win the job back. Unfortunately, he didn't impress anyone once the season started. Knox was owned by the Packers and Saints secondary, and hasn't been a huge target since those games. He has just 19 catches for 348 yards, meaning he'll have to create some miracles to get near last season's totals of 51 catches for 960 yards.

    Julius Peppers: He isn't racking up the sacks this season like he did last year, and a knee injury has taken a bit of pep out of his step. But the Bears play better when he's on the field, and he showed against Minnesota that he can get a sack with a simple push.